Dean Elgar scored a century, but the Proteas finished the first session of day five at The Oval seven wickets down. JON CARDINELLI reports.
England need three more wickets to win this Test and take a 2-1 lead in the four-game series. With good weather expected over the course of the next two sessions, and with no batting to come beyond Elgar, the hosts should realise their objective.
To be fair, a couple of the visitors have shown some mettle. Elgar and Temba Bavuma picked up where they left off last night, battling on for 50-odd minutes before the latter was trapped lbw by Toby Roland-Jones. The wicket brought an end to an 108-run partnership.
Vernon Philander shouldered arms to the very next delivery and was given out lbw. That dismissal appeared to signal the beginning of the end for the Proteas.
Elgar had other ideas, though. The opening batsman resumed his innings this morning on 72 not out off 111 balls. He played positively yet watchfully to move into the 90s, and then reached his century with a more expansive shot over mid-off.
Elgar’s century at The Oval is the first by a South African in this series. After five long Tests, the South African hundred-drought is over.
Elgar and Chris Morris put on 45 runs for the seventh wicket. The momentum appeared to be with the visitors until Morris edged Moeen Ali to first slip right before lunch.
England, and Roland-Jones in particular, will be looking to strike soon after the break. The debutant has already taken eight wickets in this Test, and will be looking to add two more to his tally.
England 353 (1st innings) – Ben Stokes 112, Alastair Cook 88, Morné Morkel 3-70, Kagiso Rabada 3-85
SA 175 (1st innings) – Temba Bavuma 52, Kagiso Rabada 30, Toby Roland–Jones 5-57, James Anderson 3-25
England 313-8 declared (2nd innings) – Jonny Bairstow 63, Tom Westley 59, Joe Root 50, Keshav Maharaj 3-50
SA 252 (2nd innings) – Dean Elgar 136, Temba Bavuma 32, Toby Roland–Jones 3-35, Moeen Ali 3-45
England won by runs
Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images